King County councilmember Kathy Lambert apologizes for campaign mailer

King County councilmember Kathy Lambert apologized on Friday for a criticized campaign flyer that was sent out earlier this week.

The mailer depicted her King County District 3 opponent Sarah Perry as a bowtie-wearing puppet controlled by King County councilmember Girmay Zahilay.

Across the top of the flyer read, “Sarah Perry would be a Socialist puppet on the eastside pushing their agenda.”

Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, Vice President Kamala Harris and councilmember Kshama Sawant were also featured.

An arrow pointing at Zahilay said, “Sarah Perry is backed by Seattle Socialist leader Girmay Zahilay who wants to defund the police.”

A word bubble near Perry’s mouth said, “Don’t investigate many crimes.”

A majority of the King County council and King County executive Dow Constatine denounced the mailer as racist.

Lambert’s apology released Friday said:

“I need to apologize for the harm that the flyer has caused to Councilmember Zahilay, my colleagues, the public I have long worked for and appreciate and to my family.  My dedication and heart are not to hurt, but to serve.  This message is certainly not what was intended.  I have terminated my consultants contract and look forward to moving ahead in a more positive direction. I want to continue to focus on the good ahead as well as the great work we have done together over the last twenty years.  Again, I am very sorry. "

King County councilmembers Reagan Dunn and Pete von Reichbauer released the following joint statement:

“The campaign piece is both offensive and inappropriate. Today we asked our colleague to publicly apologize so that the King County Council can refocus on working for the people we serve. We believe that elected leaders must do everything in their power to fight racism – that includes political speech. It was right of her to issue an apology and it is an important step forward.”

Lambert’s upcoming November opponent, Sarah Perry, released the following statement after Lambert issued her apology:

“What a week! The fallout has been swift after my Republican opponent sent a racist and inflammatory mail piece to thousands in our district. Just yesterday the Seattle Times rescinded their endorsement of my opponent and endorsed our campaign:

“Lambert showed, at minimum, a serious lack of judgment in deciding to greenlight offensive and inaccurate campaign literature depicting her opponent, business owner Sarah Perry, as an “anti-police puppet” controlled by “Seattle socialist leader” King County Councilmember Girmay Zahilay. Instead of publicly apologizing, Lambert doubled down on the mistake…”

Just now we have also received word that others have joined the Seattle Times in rescinding their endorsement.

The outpouring of support from the community-- from regional business leaders, advocates for racial justice, voters across the district, and fellow Democrats-- has been heartwarming, but I need to be honest: these attacks are only going to continue as my opponent continues to triple down on these dishonest attacks as she has in her Facebook post even a few hours ago.

The last three weeks of this campaign have the potential to get even uglier. We are working hard to be prepared to meet this with our message of positive change and are hoping you can join us in that effort with a contribution at so we can continue building this momentum together.

My opponent has made a deliberate choice to burn bridges with her current council colleagues and has let her true partisan nature show. Her disturbing lack of contrition only underscores her lack of leadership and should be disqualifying for any elected official. The time for new leadership is now, and I hope you will join us in this final stretch of the campaign with a contribution or by signing up to volunteer with the campaign.

We can do this, because we’re in it together. Thanks for your support for the positive change we need.”